The IMDT For Today's Dog Trainers & Behaviourists

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Gordon Banks
I started working seriously with dogs when I acquired my first German Shepherd puppy, Dieter, in 1980.  Along with my sister-in-law Valerie Rowley, who bred Dieter, we started the Wits Kennel Club Training Division which became one of the top competitive clubs in the then Transvaal .  Whilst with the club I successfully competed in numerous Obedience and Working Trials competitions.  
I trained with and under the late Des Kloech one of the leading dog trainers of the time and was one of the original eight people to complete the first FCI/IWT (now IPO) assailant/helper course held in South Africa by leading Belgium FCI instructors.  
I have instructed at numerous clubs in the different aspects of dog training including obedience, tracking, agility and protection training.  
While instructing at the Doberman Club at Marks Park I assisted in setting up a training class for adult dogs that had never been socialised as puppies or had ever had any form of or integration with other dogs. The classes were devised to not only give the dogs basic obedience training but to teach the owners how to read their dog’s body language and understand why they might behave in a particular way.
During this time I heard about Linda Tellington-Jones and her TTouch methods for helping with behavioural and physical problems in animals.   I completed an introductory seminar and follow-up workshops given by Eugene Chopin.
In 2010 I was asked by Tracy McQuarrie, founder of Dogtown SA if I would assist with rehabilitating abused and mistreated dogs that were brought to the Centre. On accepting, I grossly underestimated the enormity of the task and as a result, I decided to join Dogtown on a full-time basis. I soon realised that working in animal rehabilitation required a lot more knowledge than I had which prompted me to enrol with COAPE SA and in 2014 qualified with an Advanced Diploma in Animal Behaviour.
In 2017 I acquired full membership with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) in the UK and in doing so became the first person in South Africa to be IMDT accredited.
I now hold the position of Head Behaviourist at Dogtown, a position which is as rewarding as it is challenging and never has the statement “every day is different” been more appropriate than in the domain of animal rehabilitation and helping misunderstood dogs to reach their true potential. The dedication displayed by the caregivers when working with the dogs, be it implementing a specific behaviour modification program for a particular dog or simply taking the dogs on mass for a social walk, is truly fulfilling for me. I also have the bonus of being one of the teams who get to take rehabilitated dogs to their forever homes when they get adopted. 

 

Wilmi Kloppers
Hey, I am Wilmi and I would like to take a second to introduce myself. My interest in dog behavior was sparked in 2012 when I joined Dogtown South Africa. Being a novice in the field, I was grateful for the opportunity given to me. During my first few years at Dogtown I took advantage of every single opportunity presented to me to expand my knowledge and to better myself, while at the same time enjoying every single minute thereof.


In 2016 I discovered TTouch and I have never looked back. I also stared with my formal studies and in 2017 I received my Diploma in Animal Behavior, which I passed with distinction. A very proud day for me!

My next step in the right direction for my relatively newly discovered passion, was in 2016 when I received the incredible honor of being promoted from caregiver to trainer. This meant that I not only got to do training and behavior on a daily bases, I also got to lead a team of caregivers and help them better their skills. This was an incredible honor and I am grateful for this recognition that I received for my hard work within Dogtown.

Throughout my years at Dogtown I have attended various IMDT courses and felt completely inspired by each course I attended. Aggression and Rehabilitation really stood out for me and I feel like that really inspired me to better myself even more. I subsequently spent days and months learning as much as I could, and combining this thirst for knowledge with incredible opportunities to work with the dogs of Dogtown on a daily basis, I decided to take the leap and sign up for an IMDT assessment.

In 2019, after a full weekend of practical and written asessmments and examinations, I proudly become one of the first South African IMDT Certified trainers and to make it even better, I passed my assessment with merit. This was an incredibly proud moment in my career.

I personally feel that although I have come a long way since my first day as a caregiver back in 2012, that I still have so much I want to achieve and I pride myself in my never-ending quest to learn more, to better myself and to help as many dogs as I possibly can along the way.

 

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